Banana Republic Luxe Credit Card Review

The Banana Republic Luxe Card has become one of the most rewarding retail store credit cards. Despite the fact that Gap has not changed the card benefits in quite a while, the card remains a must have if you shop at Banana Republic or any of the Gap family of stores (Gap, Old Navy, Piperlime, Athleta). In fact, in my article last month ranking the top 5 department store credit cards, the Banana card ranked made the list!  This Banana Republic Luxe Card Review we will examine the card benefits and help you decide if it is worth signing up for.

First, there are actually two versions of the Banana Republic Card a basic and Luxe version:

Banana Republic Basic Card (No annual fee)

  • Get 15% off your first purchase using the card
  • Earn 5 points for every $1 spent at Banana Republic and Gap stores
  • Earn 1 point per $1 spent for all other purchases
  • Special Birthday offers (Usually a $10 or $15 coupon)

Banana Republic Luxe Card (No annual fee, but requires $800 yearly spend at Gap family of stores)

  • All of the above plus…
  • Free basic alterations for purchases paid for using your Banana Republic luxe card
  • Free shipping on all online purchases
  • Annual 15% off any day coupon
  • Exclusive luxe-only shopping events
  • Exclusive luxe-only point-earning offers

Let’s Take a Look At The Benefits Up Close…

Point Earning

Obviously, the most compelling benefit is earning 5 points per $1 on purchases at Banana Republic and Gap stores. However, the question becomes “how much are Banana points worth?” According to their website, you can redeem 1,000 points for a $10 reward certificate. This equates to earning 5% back on all Banana purchases. That’s quite a nice return if you shop at their stores. I can’t think of another credit card besides the Discover Card or Chase Freedom Card that could potentially come close to that, and those benefits are only available for a few months in the calendar year.

Keep in mind that you also earn 1 point per $1 on all other purchases, but this is a paltry earning rate considering more compelling offers. Doing the math, this is equivalent to earning 0.5% cash back, which is a poor return. However, Banana Republic has been doing a great job over the last few years of offering limited time promotions for purchases “outside Gap stores.” For instance, I have received the following types of offers:

  • Earn 3 points per dollar on all purchases outside Gap stores for 3 months
  • Earn 5 points per dollar on all purchases outside Gap stores for 2 months
  • Earn 3 points per dollar on gas, grocery, and restaurant purchases for 3 months

Clearly, there are limited time bonus promotion opportunities that will enhance the value of the card over the course of the year. However, although you cannot count on these, you don’t have to use the card outside of Gap stores if you don’t want to.

Special Birthday Offers

As a Luxe cardholder I’ve grown accustomed to receiving a $15 coupon every year on my birthday. The coupon is extremely flexible and the minimum purchase on the card is $15, so you could essentially get something for free if it were exactly $15. Of course basic cardmembers only get a $10 coupon, but this is completely free and a nice added card feature.

Banana Republic Luxe Card

How Do I Qualify for Luxe Status?

Qualifying for Luxe status requires spending $800 or more in a single calendar year across all Gap family stores. That means that that stores like Gap, Old Navy, etc., not just Banana Republic will count toward Luxe status. The nice thing is that they will keep track of your spending and report your progress on your card statements. Keep in mind that returns will be deducted from progress toward your $800 requirement.

Free Shipping on Online Purchases (Luxe Only)

Banana Republic offers free shipping for orders of $50 and above, so this benefit only applies if you are ordering something less than $50. I indeed have done that occasionally, so this can come in handy, but I wouldn’t consider this a compelling feature of the card.

Free basic alterations on all Banana Republic purchases (Luxe Only)

This is one of my favorite benefits of being a Banana Republic Luxe Card holder. You can request a basic alteration of anything purchased at a Banana Republic store. Keep in mind that you must purchase the item using your Luxe card, or some stores will not honor this benefit. Basic alterations are usually limited to hemming pants or shirt sleeves. The best part is that if you find an item on sale even if it is just $10-20, the store employees are more than happy to alter the item for you. In addition, the alterations usually only take 3-5 days. My only problem is that I have to go back to the store to pick my item up, which often ends up costing me more if I end up buying something else!

Exclusive Shopping Events (Luxe Only)

Every quarter or so Banana Republic will host an event to showcase their new clothing line and they will sometimes only invite Luxe cardholders. These events can be a lot of fun with free giveaways, free refreshments (beer, wine, food), music (DJ), and a event only sales and discounts. I have been to events at the flagship store in Chicago on Michigan Ave where they were giving away a $500 gift card, had a live DJ, and the entire event was catered with servers bringing you free wine and food while you shopped. In addition everything was an additional 30% off.

Exclusive Point-Earning Offers (Luxe Only)

Occasionally Banana will  offer a triple points period of 1-2 weeks where you can earn triple points on all purchases at Gap stores. This equates to getting 15% back on all purchases, however the offer period usually does not coincide with their sales, so you may end up buying stuff that will eventually go on sale a few weeks later, which can be frustrating.

Bottom Line

The Banana Republic Luxe Card and the basic version are a must own for people who shop at Banana Republic or Gap family stores. The 5% earning rate on the card for purchases is a great benefit, but the special offers, free basic alterations, and unique shopping events offered to Luxe members make going for the $800 requirement a fun and aspirational elite tier to try to achieve.

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